Marine Life Artist Wyland Revisits Areas Hit Hard by Oil Spill
"In many people's minds, the oil is gone. But I can assure you, it's not."
Last week, National Wildlife Federation took Wyland - renowned marine life artist and passionate ocean conservationist – on his second tour of areas devastated by the BP oil spill. As someone who is deeply concerned about the long term impacts of the spill, Wyland was eager to return to the scene of the crime and see what, if anything, had changed since his first visit four months ago.
"When I was down in the Gulf just two weeks after the spill, much of the oil was on the surface or just below. Now, four months later, the oil is less visible dispersed in the water column, in the deep ocean, on the sea floor, and in the salt water marshes," Wyland noted. "The oil that we don't see may be the biggest threat to the health of the Gulf and human health."
"The oil is definitely not gone"
The artist and members of the Wyland Foundation joined NWF’s Maura Wood and Amanda Moore on a tour the salt marshes, beaches and waters tarnished during the months-long oil spill disaster. Despite reports that the majority of the oil has been cleaned up and removed, Wyland and NWF staff discovered that many areas are still deeply mired in oil.
“The oil is definitely not gone,” said NWF’s Maura Wood. “As Wyland saw firsthand, the job is not done and this ecosystem is still suffering.”
The trip inspired Wyland to help spread the word that the crisis is far from over.
"In many people's minds, the oil is gone. But I can assure you, it's not. Unfortunately, we may not know the severity of its effects on the Gulf, wildlife, or our own health for decades," the artist said. "As a diver, I know how important clean water and healthy oceans are to marine life. And these marshlands are not only critical to the health of animals, but also our economy and human health. These ecosystems are sensitive and any change, whether temperature or oil, can have a lasting impact for years."
Support is still needed
National Wildlife Federation is thrilled to have Wyland and the non-profit Wyland Foundation team lending their time, energy and voice to the issue.
“It will likely take years to recover from this catastrophe,” said Wood. “People need to know that we still need their support to help restore the Gulf Coast to health.”
Watch this video to find out what inspired Wyland to get involved and hear his clean energy message:
Check out Wyland’s Facebook page to see photos from his trip and visit www.wylandfoundation.org to learn more about the Wyland Foundation.